Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Maybe News Consumers Aren’t the Problem

News consumers may not be so pop culture obsessed after all according to the article “Public Tunes out Ellen DeGeneres Controversy.” The study found that while DeGeneres’s pet adoption melt down generated a fair amount of news coverage last week, overall the public expressed relatively little interest:

Only 5% paid very close attention and another 13% paid fairly close attention. Fully 59% said they were not following the story at all.

Most of the public is even saying that DeGeneres was over-covered by the media and even those who were paying fairly close attention to the story overwhelmingly said it was overdone.

The main story last week that caught the public’s attention was the news coverage about the danger of an antibiotic-resistant staph infection. The staph infection story was placed at the top of the weekly news interest index, but the overall coverage of the story was less then the actual public interest. More then a quarter of Americans aid very close attention to this story and 18% listed it as the single news story they followed the closest while only 3% of the national news was actually devoted to this story, making it only the 9th most heavily covered story of the week.

In other news last week, the public continued to pay close attention to the Iraq war, in spite of limited coverage, the presidential campaign, which was most heavily covered, and other issues like U.S. economy, the Pakistan bombing and Iraq policy.

I found it very interesting, and even a little refreshing, to see that is a world where Britney Spears gets more news coverage then the Iraq war that consumers may not be completely to blame. I think news outlets place too much emphasis on what they think consumers want to read about. This article just goes to show that sometimes it’s the news outlets fault, not the consumer, for space that should be devoted to hard news stories going to fluff stories dealing with pop cultural issues instead of world issues.

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